Yaacov Norowitz Lecture on Color Complexes
On Thursday, December 10, 2009, Kenilworth Chess Club champion SM Yaacov Norowitz (recent winner of the World Open blitz event and member of the winning New York Knights US Chess League team) gave a lecture at the Kenilworth Chess Club on "color complexes" (also called "square strategy") and the way players can use the concept to help guide their decision making during the game. The concept of color complexes seems especially valuable in blitz play, where the idea of balancing control of black and white squares can yield an almost instant barometer of how you stand positionally and be translated quickly into strategy and action. Yaacov showed two games as the focal point of his lecture, which we reproduce below with some notes suggestive of the points he made.
Yaacov Norowitz - NN [D00]
New York/New York, NY 2009
An unusual way for White to head toward the Stonewall formation with f4, laying claim to the dark squares with pawns so that he can build on light with pieces. The idea behind this move is to discourage Black from countering White's dark-square control with c5 when White wins and keeps the pawn with dxc5 and b4.
Not being able to counter on dark, Black fights to control the light squares.
Exploiting the Bishop's absence to gain time for a counter.
4... b6!? seems to weaken the light squares too much, but a recent USCL game shows that Black can make it work by building on light to compensate: 5. c4 e6 6. Nc3 Be7 7. Nf3 h6 8. g3
With Black laying claim to light squares, White must switch up his strategy and fight back on light.
Now how should White continue to try to fight for light?
How should White fight for the light?
Blocking Black's pressure on dark square h2 by building on dark. White also posts his "golden Bishop" on its best diagonal and plays to make that Bishop happy.
Disrespecting the power of the golden Bishop, Black mistakenly surrenders light squares and gives the Bishop more scope on the long diagonal.
This was Black's plan: to liquidate the center in Colle style. But now White gains the possibility of d5, breaking through on light.
The dark squared Bishop assists in the fight for the light square d5 by attacking a key light-square protector in Black's camp.
How can White maximize his light square power?
The threat of Nxf6+ forced the issue.
The Golden Bishop assumes its ideal position, holding complete sway over the light squares and eyeing targets on both sides of the board. The alternative 24. Rxd5!? Qc7 25. h5 is also strong, when the bishop's latent power is still felt.
A neat conclusion would have been possible after 25... Kg7?
White to play and win, attacking light and dark.
The King make s way for White's only inactive piece, the Rook at f1, which now joins the attack along the h-file.
and Black soon resigned. The concluding combination naturally takes place on light squares with the golden Bishop in the lead.
R-Kasimdzhanov - YaacovN [A45]
ICC 3 0 u/Internet Chess Club 2006
The following game was played with the FIDE World Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov on ICC at 3 minutes each, no increment.
It is interesting to see how Kasimdzanov has played the position as Black: 2... g6 3. Bxf6 exf6 4. g3 f5 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. e3 (and White has put his pawns on dark to compensate for the loss of the Bishop and continues to fight for dark squares with pawn moves like h4 and b4.) 6...
4. f3 Nf6 5. e4 dxe4 6. Nc3 is sometimes played, with the idea that White has a tempo over the standard Blackmar Diemer Gambit. Perhaps one way of seeing the gambit is as an attempt to use White's strength on dark squares to grab the light squares also.
White has built on dark, and Black on light. Now both players play to restore the balance.
Trading the Bishop on the opposite color of your pawns seems to violate square strategy, but fighting for dark squares is important.
The trade of Knight for Bishop is a mixed bag: White gains a "golden Bishop" on light and more control of light squares, but Black gains the Knights control of dark squares and moves a pawn toward the center on light to partlially compensate for the Bishop.
These moves make sense by the logic of square strategy: White builds on dark because he is strong on light. But Black has some tactical resources to counterattack on dark while maintaining his contol of light with pawns and soon with Knights as well.
Stopping b4 and possibly planning b6 to confront the c-pawn. White's next stops b6 but allows a different dark-square shot.
How can Black battle back on dark squares?
With a series of dark square shots (which continues with c5), Black has successfully countered White's attempt to grab both light and dark squares. He now uses the initiative to grab both light and dark for advantage.
Black has won the battle for squares and his attack now relies on pressure down the a- and b-file toward White's pawns on light and along the a7-g1 diagonal (with ideas like Ne4-f2+) exploiting his greater control of dark squares due to his two Knights and well-positioned Queen.
White fights to hold the critical d4 square, but Black's pieces are well positioned to win the battle.
Black's pawns abreast in the center signal that he has won the war for light and dark. White only has some cheap shots left.
33. Nc6 Qc5 34. Ne7+ Kf8 35. f6 gxf6 36. Nf5 Nf2+ 37. Rxf2 Qxf2 38. Qb1 e4 39. Ng3 Qc5 40. h3 Qxa5 41. Qc1 Qa1 42. Qxa1 Rxa1+ 43. Kh2 Ke7 44. Ne2 Kd6 45. Nd4 Kc5 46. Nb5 Kxb5 47. h4 Ra8 48. Kg3 d4 49. Kf4 d3 50. Kxe4 d2 51. Kf5 d1=Q 52. Kxf6 Qd6+ 53. Kxf7 Rf8+ 54. Kg7 Qf6+ 55. Kh7 Rh8#
Games in PGNCopyright © 2009 by Michael Goeller